FEAST: Wanderlust in Wilson

By on October 11, 2016

Streetfood’s ‘Around the World’ dinners transport diners to a different place.

Streetfood co-owner Marcos Hernandez plates Spanish octopus. (Photo: Robyn Vincent)

Streetfood co-owner Marcos Hernandez (right) and Chef Justin Anthony plate Spanish octopus. (Photo: Robyn Vincent)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – When traveling the world, or the country for that matter, I sometimes find myself pointing to Jackson Hole’s increasingly international sensibilities. “A lot of residents are world travelers,” I explain to folks I meet. “People are cultured; they come from everywhere to live in Jackson.”

Nowhere in the valley could this be more evident than at Streetfood, both with its success as a global cuisine enclave inside the Stagecoach and now with its international dinners Wednesday evenings through October.

Although I didn’t attend Streetfood’s Korean feast two weeks ago (where diners were sent home with doggie bags of kimchi), one of the people who accompanied me on a trip to Korea happened to be there.

Jess Farr and her fiancé, Chef Dave Van Ham—who has also eaten his way through Korea—say they were lucky to be among the diners seated at family style tables sheathed in tablecloths and elegant place settings. Yes, this all happens in the Coach’s normally cowboy-casual confines.

“You can’t get Korean food in Jackson,” Farr noted. “And this is not something the head chef [Justin Anthony] does every day, so to put on a meal of that caliber where everything came out perfectly cooked was impressive.”

Farr said she was not only taken by Streetfood’s proteins, like the kalbi (barbecue short ribs) and samgyeopsal (pork belly), but that the Streetfood team delivered the multi-course meal to a group of more than 30 diners at once. “As someone who has worked in a kitchen, I can tell you that’s not easy,” she said.

After Farr raved on for another 10 minutes, detailing dessert—hotteok, a crispy corn pancake oozing with brown sugar and drizzled with yuzu tea syrup—I told her I had heard enough… and then I promptly made a reservation for the Spanish dinner served last week.

Streetfood’s bright Spanish tapas were further testament to Anthony’s skills. Sitting next to me, Farr (now a Wednesday night convert) was quick to note the chef was at the helm of 35 plates of seafood, a high maintenance protein, for another full house. Did I mention the restaurant’s kitchen stays open to serve patrons regular menu items for the entirety of the meal?

The sold-out dinner began with wood-fired Spanish octopus and patatas bravas. Wolfing down every last bite, Farr and I observed the utilitarian aspect of tapas—before a late night of dancing, which is de rigueur in many Latin countries, one can’t afford to be weighed down with heavy food. We decided this is why tapas are a staple of Latin cuisine, wishing that we too had a place to shake our hips into the late (early?) hours.

Next we savored a paella dish. Streetfood’s rendition was comprised of jumbo shrimp, Prince Edward Island mussels, Spanish chorizo, baby vegetables and a rich saffron lobster sauce.

Paella perfection.

Paella perfection.

As we washed the smoky chorizo down with gulps of Rioja from the adjacent liquor store, I took note of the service. With each dish, co-owners/husband and wife Marcos Hernandez and Amelia Hatchard checked in with guests to gauge their satisfaction. Anthony did the same.

But alas, it wasn’t over. Wide-eyed for dessert, we were served nectarous sherry-glazed figs sprinkled with almonds and a velvety crema catalena, the Spanish iteration of crème brulée.

Sherry-glazed figs and crema catalena concluded the Spanish soiree.

We cleaned our plates, err black slates, at an alarming rate.

The Around the World dinners have shipped diners to some of this world’s more unique culinary meccas, like Argentina, Morocco and the Philippines, where Anthony spent a month traveling with his girlfriend and kitchen extraordinaire, Dawn Balagot, a native of the small Western Pacific country.

Hatchard explained, “I definitely think this town has a great food scene but there are a lot of things that are lacking. We wanted to serve food you can’t get here.” The dinners also allow Anthony, who joined Streetfood in August, the creative license to craft inspired food, she said.

Years ago bartending at Bin 22, I often waited on the former Four Seasons staffers Hernandez and Hatchard (they imported Anthony from the hotel where the couple met). It was clear they were in the industry—cordial and pleasant, they opted for excellent wines and experimented with the Bin’s more adventurous dishes.

Today the globally inspired pair—Hernandez hails from Mexico, and Hatchard is here by way of Philadelphia, Martha’s Vineyard, Paris’ Cordon Bleu and the New England Culinary Institute—is among the cultured folks who come from everywhere to be in Jackson Hole. They are some of the people who make this place worth discussing to those on the other side of the world. PJH

Streetfood’s Around the World dinners, 7 p.m. Wednesdays through October. $35.

This week: Italy, including diver scallop crudo, truffled fettuccine carbonara and tiramisu. A Mexican grand finale happens October 26. Call 307-200-6633 to reserve a spot. streetfoodjh.com

About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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